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Asciano: La Pievina

Phone: 0577-718368

Closing day: Monday and Tuesday

Reviewed by: Genie from Germany, review #156

When: 2002

The most fun we had at a meal in Italy.

Directions: Outside of town on road to Siena.

We were the only Americans and the waitresses spoke no English. The manageress was adorable and made herself understood with facial expressions and lots of smiles. (I thought my husband was going to leave me for her once the food started coming.)

We understood the word "pesci" which is why we travelled from our hotel in Montefollonico. Eight different fish antipastos (calamari in lemon, small mussels in tomato sauce, anchovies, sardines and so forth), then a first course of salmon ravioli. That's as far as I got, so I can't tell you about the others. However, the gentleman to my left ordered a tall wire tree covered with greenery and hanging with shrimp and other shellfish piled around the bottom - I'm assuming a second course and apparently a specialty of the house.

We made reservations, which is a good idea. Although small and right off the road, the place filled up quickly. The only drawback was the wine - a 2000 bottle of red which was not up to par, but after a couple of glasses, who really notices? We arrived at 8 pm and left at midnight after convincing the manageress we couldn't eat anymore. I think she realized my husband was leaving under duress, because she packed a dessert for him and kissed him on both cheeks. The total was 70 Euros, a bargain.

Reviewed by: Tim from NY, review #155

When: 2001

We both highly recommend this restaurant which was a highlight of our wonderful honeymoon.

Directions: Outside of town on road to Siena.

One of the biggest challenges we faced was finding a restaurant in central Tuscany which served fish! "Mia moglie mangia solamente pesce e verdure." was the phrase concocted to get the point across. Even restaurants which our wonderful Cadogan Tuscany guide said served fish turned out to be meat and pasta only.

On the recommendation of Sr. Santi, the owner of the villa we rented, we tried a local restaurant which specialized in fish called "La Pievina" and was conveniently located only 5 km. outside Asciano on the way to Siena. The staff was extremely friendly and the owner constantly went from table to table to make sure that everyone was happy. There was no menu - what was suggested was the antipasti and the house red (a whole bottle of course) which was the Nottola Rosso Toscano 1998. The antipasti turned out to be the entire meal, about 10 courses which included everything from a tasty frutti di mare to vongoline (tiny clams in tomato garlic sauce), mussels, sardines marinated with onion, smoked fish with sardine fritters, mussels with melted cheese, small snails with a meat sauce, bruschetta with tomato and baby clams, some ground boar sausage and a spinach and cheese clear soup to finish which the owner claimed to be a blessing on the meal. After all that she asked if we wanted pasta, a main course, and desert! When we then asked for the bill she brought us fresh biscotti which were still chewy, a desert wine, and a grappa. I'm glad we had such a short drive home! The next day as we were driving to Montalcino to sample some Brunello wine, we decided that La Pievina was so good that we wanted to go back that evening for the rest of the meal! We picked up where we left off - I had a shellfish risotto and two large ravioli in creme sauce and Jaime had the most exquisite whole fish with potatoes prepared with olive oil and lemons. For desert I had the lovely creme filled pastries which seemed to float in the bowls which she brought around for us and of course a little grappa!

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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